Drug Court Benefits

Benefits
Drug courts create legal outcomes that are better than going through the traditional judicial system. Upon completion of drug court, some participants may receive a reduced or probated sentence while others may receive a full dismissal of all criminal charges. In most cases, jail days are less for drug court participants than for other individuals going through the traditional judicial system, unless otherwise indicated by legal statute. These dispositions will be determined by the Office of the District Attorney on a case-by-case basis and will be agreed upon prior to entry into the program.

Drug courts work because they provide ongoing treatment with judicial supervision for the duration needed to be effective. Participants receive the level of intensive outpatient treatment required to develop recovery tools for their life. They are held accountable for their actions through judicial supervision and regular, random drug and alcohol testing. Graduates from the program learn to maintain their sobriety and go on to become positive members of the community, business owners, and successful employees. In the first five years of the Western Judicial Circuit Felony Drug Court's operation, from 2004 to 2009, 26 participants graduated with a recidivism rate of only 4.2% in the 2 years following program completion. The vast majority of our graduates have succeeded because of the experiences they had while in the Felony Drug Court Program.

Specialty Treatment Areas

DUI Intervention Program
The Felony Drug Court serves as an approved clinical provider for DUI offenders in the state of Georgia requiring services under O.C.G.A. 40-5-63.1 or O.C.G.A. 40-6-391. Participants in good standing with the Felony Drug Court are eligible to receive these services. For more information, visit the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities DUI Intervention Program website.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
The Felony Drug Court offers Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy for interested participants. EMDR is an evidence-based method of psychotherapy focusing on reprocessing of past experiences, current triggers, and future potential challenges resulting in decrease in or elimination of distress from the disturbing memory, improved view of self, relief from bodily disturbance, and resolution of present and future anticipated triggers. EMDR has successfully been used to treat panic disorder, grief/loss issues, pain disorders, eating disorders, performance anxiety, stress reduction, sexual and/or physical abuse, disturbing/distressing memories (and other forms of intrusive trauma), and addictions. For further information, visit the EMDR International Association website.

Learn More
For those interested in more information about the program, call the drug court program office at 706-208-7078. View research on the effectiveness of drug courts. Contact Stephanne Thornton, LCSW, MAC, CCS, at stephanne.thornton@athensclarkecounty.com or at 706-208-7078 for more information.